Designing Simple and Flexible Offenses – A Nationalteam Approach

When coaches who are not involved talk about nationalteam, they usually talk about the high quality of players, which they don’t have at their own teams. What they often don’t consider is the crazy short amount of time in which a nationalteam must get ready to play on a very high level. In this text, I want to share, how these restrictions actually helped me in becoming a better OC and how you can benefit from my experience.

Nationalteam – where the nation’s elite joins forces to play for their country

We are talking about ten practices to install and prepare a completely new offense with a new group of players before facing a defense we do not know much about. These circumstances forced me to change my mindset from “how many weapons can I draw up to beat my opponent” to “what is the minimum amount of weapons needed to win”. Sounds simple. Unfortunately simple ain’t easy – especially when facing a big variety of defensive schemes.

Here is a  summary of the 2014 U19 World Championship, which was my first time coordinating Team Austria’s offense on the big stage. We played four games in nine days in the desert around Kuwait City:

  • Game 1 vs. France –  3-5 Cover 3 – CBs in divider techniques – 40 Front Cover 4 as changeup
  • Game 2 vs. Kuwait – steamrolled a rookie team who didn’t play a recognizable scheme
  • Game 3 vs. Canada – unorthodox 50 front with walkup LBs over B-Gaps – heavy pressure – Combo Coverage
  • Game 4 vs. Mexico – Multiple fronts – 50 and 40 – Cover 4 and Cover 1

During the design phase of an offense for such a tournament, every scheme must be evaluated on its ability to beat multiple defenses. A scheme, only valuable against one certain front or coverage will not make it into the base package.

In a nutshell: The small number of practice reps force you to create a very simple playbook, which must be flexible enough to attack multiple defenses. I believe that the majority of teams in Europe, besides the few premium-teams with almost ‘US-like’ environments, are acting within very similar boundary conditions:

  • Few pre-season practices with all starters attending. 10 might even be an optimistic number – check your last pre-season attendance list
  • Multiple defenses you will face throughout the season
  • Low number of gameweek practice reps

Given these circumstances, I am driven to design a base package to attack every inch of the field with the least amount of schemes possible. This makes it simple and flexible, while providing time and space to spice up the weekly gameplan with some well tailored complements.

The layout of my base package:

  • 2-3 Formations
  • 1 Blocking Scheme, covering Run Game and Pass Pro
  • 3 Quick Game Concepts
  • 3 Drop Back Concepts
  • 2 Screens

This base package is an OC’s best friend and players understand the concepts quickly, leading to an increased number of reps for each concept. By mixing and matching the base plays, you can scale up to a full blown Spread Option or Spread RPO offense in no time. To add your own flavor, just implement your all time favorites on top of the base. As this is a modular approach, extending and adding is easy.

I believe that teams in Europe without a very simple and flexible base system could benefit from my experience. I have installed such systems at several teams successfully and look forward to supporting you and your team.

Get in touch if you are interested to discuss, how a maxcoachng system may help your team become better and more efficient: office@maxcoaching.at

If you want to read more about some important Euro-specific characteristics of our game, check out:  ‘4 Things to Consider Before Designgin an Offense in Europe

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